The Return of the King Deluxe Edition
Deluxe Edition, Standard Edition
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The Return of the King Deluxe Edition (DVD)
Frodo the Hobbit, the remarkable hero of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, battles more evil forces plaguing Middle Earth in The Return of the King. The Magic Ring of The Hobbit has now become the Ring of Doom - and to restore peace it must be destroyed in the raging fires in which it was made. Chosen for the task, Frodo and faithful servant Samwise face grave perils - the worst of which is the ring's terrible power to possess its wearer. Will Frodo give in to the madness of the ring....or will he fulfill his quest?]]>
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The scene with Sam, Frodo and Gollum occurred much later in the story than shown in this version. The original text had it only taking a short time. It's one of my favorite written scenes of all time (close to the climax of "White Gold Wielder" by Stephen R. Donaldson). Spreading it out for days was a bit of a distraction.
To me, the most frustrating part of this version of "The Return of the King" was that the maps of Middle Earth clearly showed the plain within Mordor as "Gorgoroth" but everybody (including Sam, Frodo, and Gandalf) pronounced it as "Gorogoroth". Where did they get the extra "o"?
Over all, a much simpler and lighter rendition of the story than the most recent trilogy. However, I think that Tolkien would prefer this version BECAUSE it's not as dark!
Why does everybody skip the scouring of the Shire?
This is absolutely not a review on the *content* of the movie -- I am giving it five-stars because I wanted the movie they used to show on TV when I was a kid. This is the one with the cheesy "Frodo of the Nine Fingers, and the Ring of Doom!" song. It's exactly the one they used to show -- obvious commecial breaks and everything.
There is not much continuity from the Rankin-Bass "Hobbit" to this movie (the Hobbit movie was better at story-telling than this one). There is way too much repetition within this movie. There are so many characters that are not explained at all -- just seen and then dropped. It's all choppy and confusing. And it's very cheesy. But it's exactly like I remembered, and I'm so glad that I get to sing along. My kids think I'm nutsos. So what?
I would like to point out that I prefer the 1977 animated "The Hobbit" to the 2012 version. Also, I have respect for the 1978 "Lord of the Rings."
Now, to the subject at hand. This final story starts with Bilbo having his 129th birthday. Gandalf, Elrond, Frodo, Pippin, and Merry are there. Bilbo seems unaware of the full potential the ring had to harm everyone. He is upset that Frodo has destroyed it. A moment later, he is surprised to see that Frodo has lost not only the ring, but the finger on which he wore it. A musician then comes in to tell Bilbo (as well as the audience) what happened so many years ago.
Like I said, it isn't fair to compare this to the eventual Peter Jackson "Return of the King." But first of all, Faramir, Legolas, and Gimli are NEVER PRESENT. True, Aragorn is there. However, he has very little time on screen.
Another thing is they try to make this film in the same style of "The Hobbit." By that I mean narration alternates with brief scenes of action. This worked very well in the 1977 animated "The Hobbit." But that was because "The Hobbit" was a story of a hobbit's journey that involved SOME violence.
It doesn't work so well here. For example, Gandalf tries to confront the Witch King, and the Witch King says: "No living man can kill me." Then the scene ends. Did Gandalf just accept the words of the Witch King and walk away?
Even if we avoid the temptation to compare it to the later Peter Jackson version, this animated version does have visible shortcomings.
But now the good points. Despite its shortcomings, this version is still worth having. The music is beautiful. The animation carries a charm of its own. Roddy McDowall almost steals the film as Sam.
Also, this film made some attempt to humanize the orcs a bit and allow us a moment of sympathy for them. Through clever use of an eerie song 'Where There's a Whip, There's a Way,' we see that the orcs are not so happy about going off to war. And add to that, Sam has a vision of a day where hobbits and orcs may walk by each other, smile, and wave.
All in all, the film is flawed. But it does however have some good things about it. And it is worth having.
My advice is to accept that this film came over 20 years before the Peter Jackson trilogy, accept that has its problems, and just give it a chance.
Now I love both films, but you have to find and buy both films, not just this one. They are full of action, adventure, colorful creatures and exciting characters. The lands are wonderful and the wars are epic. Lets face it, the fight between good and evil has never been more amazing than in the Lord of the Rings, no matter which version you know. You should buy the Hobbit with this and the other movie. (It's my favorite of the three.)
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